Dr. Veronica Holmes
Senior Technical Services Chemist, Bercen, Inc.
Dr Veronica Holmes hails from the microscopic village of “Bayou Goula”, 30 miles south of Baton Rouge. She attended the Honors College at Southern University in Baton Rouge, from whence she received a BS in Chemistry in 1999. In her time at Southern she received a number of awards, including the David and Lucille Packard Foundation Award. She was a Golden Key National Honors Society Scholar and a Timbuktu Academy Scholar. She had a couple of summer research experiences as an undergraduate, at Pharmacia & Upjohn (Kalamazoo, MI) and the Department of Energy (Morgantown, West VA). If she had her time again, Veronica says she would have taken a year out, following her undergraduate degree, to serve in the peace corps. However, history tells us that she joined the graduate program at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.
After a year in Nebraska, Veronica transferred to LSU where she specialized in Macromolecular Chemistry and joined the research group of Alumni Professor Emeritus William H. (Bill) Daly. She enjoyed the people of LSU Chemistry. “I often referred to my research group as the United Nations; we hailed from several different continents. The experience expanded both my worldview and my dietary pallet. I made several ‘life-long’ friends and invaluable personal connections.” During graduate school, Veronica became a mother. As she puts it, “life happened.” On reflection, she sees the challenge of graduate school and being a parent simultaneously as honing her time management skills and her ability to prioritize. Her advice to current graduate students is to “Publish! Publish! Publish! It matters.”
In December 2006, she defended her dissertation, “The Application of Controlled Radical Polymerization Processes on the Graft Copolymerization of Hydrophobic Substituents onto Guar Gum and Guar Gum Derivatives.” In January 2007, she joined Bercen, Inc. in Denham Springs. In the decade that she has been with Bercen, the company has evolved from providing a service to the paper industry to producing fuel additives. On a day-to-day basis, her responsibility is to ensuring that lab scale products will retain quality and performance on the production scale.